“No immediate shift in Pakistan’s military policy under the new army chief”

There will be no immediate shift in Pakistan’s military policy under the new army chief, the country’s defense minister said, after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appointed a new military leader on Saturday. Lieutenant General Qamar Javed Bajwa will replace retiring army chief Raheel Sharif when his three-year term ends on Tuesday, a rare example of a smooth transition in a nation where army chiefs have a history of clinging to power. General Sharif, who is not related to the prime minister, has proved popular with ordinary Pakistanis but during his tenure relations between the army and the civilian government have often been tense. Relations abroad have also frayed, with the United States and Afghanistan complaining of a lack of action by Islamabad against Afghan Taliban militants based on Pakistani soil, while a stand-off with old foe India over Kashmir has soured relations. Bajwa was one of several high-ranking candidates put forward for the job by the army but little is publicly known about him or his ideological stance on key issues, including relations with India or how to tackle home-grown Islamist militants.

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